NGA Announces 10 Winners in MagQuest Phase 1; Launches $1

SPRINGFIELD, Virginia (NGA PR) — Today, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency announced 10 winners in the first phase of MagQuest, a $1.2 million global open innovation challenge to advance how we measure Earth’s magnetic field. The next phase of the challenge is now accepting detailed designs for geomagnetic data collection methodologies for the World Magnetic Model. Phase 2 is open to solvers from Phase 1, as well as new solvers who did not participate in the first phase of the challenge, and will award $1 million in cash prizes.

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Asteroid Mission Selected for Next Phase of NASA Small Spacecraft Competition

Artist’s conception of the Janus satellite rendezvousing with a binary asteroid. (Credit: NASA)

DENVER  (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has been selected to design dual small deep space spacecraft to visit near-earth asteroids in a mission called Janus, led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

One of NASA’s Small Innovative Mission for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) finalists, Janus is designed to fly by two binary asteroids, or asteroids orbiting a common center of mass, to image the system using both visible and infrared cameras. These small satellites will launch in 2022 to reach the asteroid system in 2026.

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NSRC Day 3 Summary

Test flights will eventually take place on Masten Space Systems' Xaero vehicle. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)
Test flights will eventually take place on Masten Space Systems’ Xaero vehicle. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference finished up today in Colorado. There were provider presentations from Masten Space Systems and Virgin Galactic. Three researchers also presented results from suborbital microgravity flights.

Below are summaries of the sessions based on Tweets.
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DANDE Satellite Off to a Good Start

Former CU-Boulder students Mark Sakaguchi and Bruce Davis test the DANDE satellite. (Credit: CU-Denver)
Former CU-Boulder students Mark Sakaguchi and Bruce Davis test the DANDE satellite. (Credit: CU-Denver)

BOULDER, Colo. (CU-Boulder PR) – A small satellite designed and built by a team of University of Colorado Boulder students to better understand how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits was successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday morning.

The satellite, known as the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, will investigate how a layer of Earth’s atmosphere known as the thermosphere varies in density at altitudes from about 200 to 300 miles above Earth. The commercial Falcon-9 SpaceX rocket lifted off the launch pad at about 10 a.m. MDT carrying DANDE, a small beach ball-sized satellite developed over a period of about six years by roughly 150 students, primarily undergraduates, as part of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, or COSGS.

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DANDE Satellite Set for Launch on Falcon 9

Former CU-Boulder students Mark Sakaguchi and Bruce Davis test the DANDE satellite. (Credit: CU-Denver)
Former CU-Boulder students Mark Sakaguchi and Bruce Davis test the DANDE satellite. (Credit: CU-Denver)

BOULDER, Colo. (CU-Boulder PR) — A small beach ball-sized satellite designed and built by a team of University of Colorado Boulder students to better understand how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits is now slated for launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 29.

The satellite, known as the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, is designed to investigate how a layer of Earth’s atmosphere known as the thermosphere varies in density at altitudes from about 200 to 300 miles above Earth. There are thousands of satellites orbiting Earth at those altitudes, most of which eventually degrade, lose altitude and burn up in the atmosphere.

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